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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Some truth telling « Previous | |Next »
March 21, 2003

Well, at long last.

John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, has decided to speak a little more honestly to Australian citizens and to break with his old strategy of just recycling the White House script. Does he remember that aeons ago he was known as Honest John? He has given the US alliance as a reason for going to war in his speech to the nation last night:

"There's also another reason and that is our close security alliance with the United States. The Americans have helped us in the past and the United States
is very important to Australia's long-term security. It is critical that we maintain the involvement of the United States in our own region where at present there are real concerns about the dangerous behavior of North Korea. The relationship between our two countries will grow more rather than less important as the years go by. A key element of our close friendship with the United States and indeed with the British is our full and intimate sharing of intelligence material."

Pine Gap and the other US spy stations in Australia are important an important part of the reason for Australia's role in the War. Is more than an insurance policy now. Australia has, to all intents and purposes, become a part of the US national security state. Australia is caught up in the geopolitical strategies of the US in the Middle East to ensure that the US remains engaged in the Asia-Pacific region.

The PM may consider some truth telling is necesary but we are still not getting much truth telling about Australia's geo-political strategy. Australia's national interests are now identical with the US---with a touch of regional colouring. Australia has signed up to the US's identification of its national interests with those of the world; and to the US policy of the unilateral use of military power to protect its vital national interests. We are part of the crew ogf the US ship of state.

The Australian fails miserably in truth telling. True, it's editorial,A war we can fight with a clear conscience, is more conciliatory than usual. It says that the Iraqi regime is "so despicable a regime that even men and women of goodwill who oppose this conflict have no words of praise or even apology for its deeds." And there is lots of stuff about unity of the nation, the anti-war crowd dropping their name calling and everybody getting behind the troops.

But when The Australian says that "The goal is not to destroy Iraq's productive capacity, or to kill its people, but to put a end to an evil regime" it continues to dissemble and spin. There is little in the editorial about the Iraqi war providing an opportunity for the Bush administration to put its belligerent unilateral policy into effect; establishing US power in the region; shaping the region in terms of US national interests; or the occupation of Iraq and its consequences.

There is also no understanding that those national interests have been served by needing to create a credible threat to unify the people and Congress, then whipping up a sense of danger and fear; or that the national interests in the Middle East have been served in the past by support for very conservative and traditionalist regimes that have been dictatorships. All The Australian sees is that this "is not a war of aggression; it is not a war to force our will on an innocent people. It is a war to disarm a dictator."

The Australian is full of optimistic technological illusion of wars as relatively short and clean because of "technological superiority"; it has no historical sense of the legacy of failure of ad hoc US geo-political strategy in the Middle East that opposed nationalist regimes; nor any feel that the disasters of US policy has caused the emergence of fundamentalist Islam and tradtionalism; nor an awareness of the way the US has profoundly alienated the reactionary and repressive regimes it has fostered; and that it is now involved in a conflict which threatens to destablize nation-states in the region.

The editorial not only ignores the failures of the past polices of the US in the Middle East; it shows no understanding that the Arab media has good reason to view past US policy in the region as a form of bullying, opportunism and political adventurism.

But The Australian is more than just engaged in a public relations campaign on behalf of American unilateralism and the US neo-con conception of geo-politics in the Middle East. It is advocating bad policy that has a history of failure. What is most astonishing here is the naivety of The Australian as it does not see that Iraq is one battle in a long war. It has no understanding at all of the permanent crisis extending over the Islamic arc reaching from the Middle East to the Southeast Asia; a crisis that the US and Australia will have to confront in the decades to come. This crisis will not be won by using military high tech weaponary to solve political and social problems.

Yet solving social and political problems with military technology is what The Australian is advocating in the fight against international terorism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:57 AM | | Comments (3)


Whaddaya expect from an American-owned newspaper?

A bit more than candy floss. What about some hard edged neo- political strategy?

If you are working for the Wizard of Oz, the last thing you want is for people to see the tired old man working the ghostly green face of unilateral militarism. The Australian doesn't tell us how a Richard Armitage was a point man for the Shah's Secret Police because it is off message. Politicians know that by carefully drip feeding the offical media nuggets of "news", they can build a heroin-like dependence upon their offical line. Look at the Washington Press Corps.